The shell of the 7-Eleven store next to the Trans-Canada Highway in downtown Salmon Arm was all that remained after a fire destroyed it on Aug. 24, 2018. (File photo)

The shell of the 7-Eleven store next to the Trans-Canada Highway in downtown Salmon Arm was all that remained after a fire destroyed it on Aug. 24, 2018. (File photo)

Preliminary inquiry into fire that destroyed 7-Eleven underway in Salmon Arm

Inquiry will determine if there’s sufficient evidence to proceed to trial

Courtroom 201 in the Salmon Arm Law Courts is the site today of a preliminary inquiry into charges connected with the 2018 fire that destroyed the city’s 7-Eleven convenience store.

The inquiry, which is subject to a publication ban, is taking place in Provincial Court in Salmon Arm on Monday, Sept. 30 and, although initially scheduled for two days, is expected to wrap up today.

Kenneth Robert LaForge, 39, is charged with: mischief of $5,000 or under, arson in relation to inhabited property and arson damaging property.

Preliminary inquiries, in which what transpires is routinely banned from publication, determine whether the evidence is sufficient to proceed to trial.

Following the inquiry will be a bail hearing to see if the accused will be released from jail while his case makes its way through the courts.

Preliminary inquiries, in which what transpires is routinely banned from publication, determine whether the evidence is sufficient to proceed to trial.

Read more: City wants fire damaged 7-Eleven site cleaned up

Read more: 7-Eleven to demolish burned building in Salmon Arm

Read more: Update: Suspect in Salmon Arm 7-Eleven fire facing charges

Read more: Man charged in Salmon Arm 7-Eleven fire granted bail

When LaForge was released from custody in January, 23 conditions were imposed, including a curfew confining him inside his Sorrento residence between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. each day unless he has a compelling reason and has written permission from his bail supervisor, not going to a 7-Eleven store and not possessing any incendiary device, flammable product or explosive substance.

On July 30, a fourth count was added to the three connected with the initial fire: breach of an undertaking or recognizance. Court documents state that on June 6, at or near Salmon Arm, LaForge failed to comply with a condition of his release. That condition was not to possess or consume alcohol, drugs or any other intoxicating substance except in accordance with a medical prescription.

He is back in custody but seeking bail.

The 7-Eleven was boarded up and eventually torn down following the incident on Aug. 24, 2018 when a fire erupted after a vehicle drove into the front of the store.


@SalmonArm
marthawickett@saobserver.net

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